Thursday, March 5, 2009

Massive explosion in downtown Bozeman!

I wasn't there, I was up at the hill, and I found out about it when my ladies group camp up. Unbelievable. I heard there was one fatality, but otherwise, no injuries, which is amazing considering how incredibly busy main street is in the morning! We are lucky it dumped snow last night! People weren't out and about like they usually are. No massage until further notice, downtown is closed!

Breaking News: Explosion Devastates Downtown Bozeman, One Person Missing

By KFBB News Team

Story Published: Mar 5, 2009 at 11:52 AM MST

Story Updated: Mar 5, 2009 at 2:50 PM MST

Updated 2:45 p.m.: BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - One person is unaccounted for after a natural gas explosion rocked downtown Bozeman this morning.

Assistant City Manager Chuck Winn says initially eleven people were unaccounted for after the fire that destroyed Boodles restaurant, the Rocking R Bar, Montana Trails Gallery, the American Legion building and Lilly Lu's children's store. He said police had been able to find ten of them.

The explosion happened at about 8:15 a.m. in the 200 block of Main Street. Crews allowed the fire to burn into this afternoon because NorthWestern Energy crews were unable to completely shut off the natural gas. Winn, the former fire chief, said the rubble of the collapsed buildings was not yet safe to search.

Students at the Hawthorne School in Bozeman were moved to the Bozeman Public Library due to possible air quality concerns, Superintendent Kirk Miller said early Thursday afternoon.


Update: 11:40 a.m. MST: An explosion has leveled at least three buildings in downtown Bozeman. ABC Montana's Dave Griffiths reports from Bozeman that the governor and Montana National Guard officials briefed reporters at 11:00 a.m. Firefighters are still on scene, but officials say the fire has now been contained in downtown Bozeman. At this point, there are no reports of injuries.

In addition, ABC Montana's Christina Marrazza reports from Helena that legislators have been briefed this morning on the explosion, and the governor has canceled all activities in Helena to be in Bozeman.

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - An explosion rocked downtown Bozeman this
morning, collapsing three buildings and prompting evacuation of a two-block area. The explosion happened at about 8:15 a.m., sparking a large fire.

Boodles restaurant and bar were destroyed, and the adjacent Rocking R bar was heavily damaged. Police evacuated the two blocks surrounding the businesses, housed in historic brick buildings.

Jason Shrauger with the Gallatin County Disaster and Emergency Services said it was unknown what caused the explosion or if there were any injuries.

Witnesses reported seeing debris fly three times the height of the two-story building. Glass windows on downtown storefronts two blocks away were shattered by the blast.

City officials were investigating the possibility that a natural gas leak caused the explosion.

At 11:25 a.m. MST: U.S. Senator Max Baucus released this statement on the Bozeman explosion:

“Like all Montanans, I was shocked to learn of the explosion in downtown Bozeman. I pray that no one got hurt in the accident, and have full confidence in the emergency crews that have responded to the scene. Right now, my staff and I are working quickly to gather more information and determine where the federal government might be of assistance in this matter.”

At 11:45 a.m. MST: Senator Jon Tester released the following statement in response to today’s explosion:

“Sharla and I send our thoughts and prayers to everyone whose lives are affected by this disaster. Montana has some of the most capable emergency responders in the country, and I appreciate their hard work and dedication. I am following this story closely as we sort through the questions, and my staff and I are standing by to help any way we can.”

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